It’s no secret that the number one most popular piercing in the world is that of the ear lobe. In both western and tribal societies, the ears are regularly pierced during childhood, and in some cases, even during infancy. Reputed to be one of the fastest and most easily healed piercings available, it’s plane to see that the lobes will continue to hold top spot, likely for decades or even centuries to come.
Second to standard piercings of the ear lobes are piercings of other areas of the human ear. There are over fifteen distinct piercings of the ear cartilage to date, and more are being thought up all the time. Amongst the most popular of these are the helix piercing, tragus piercing, rook piercing, and industrial. In many of these piercings, specific jewelry is required to achieve the desired look, and the availability of custom bending and fitting services in parlors is consequentially at an all time high.
Rounding out the rest of the top five we have the nose piercing, belly piercing, and lip piercing respectively. Nose piercings have been practiced in India and the Middle East for thousands of years, and are still an important part of traditional Ayurvedic health care. They’re also mentioned in the Christian bible, more than once. Today piercings of the nostril are performed in many western countries as well, primarily as a fashion statement, and piercings of the nasal septum are also growing in popularity.
Although navel piercing claims roots in tribal dance, it’s certainly the most quickly rising of the popular piercings, as prior to the 1970s it wasn’t even on the radar. The real explosion of belly piercings as a fashion accessory though, came in the 1990s. After a string of high profile media coverage, navel adornment took off like a rocket into space, and hasn’t come down for a moment ever since.
The lip piercing has a far more colorful tribal past, being commonplace amongst peoples on nearly ever single continent. The Aztecs, the Dogon, the Makolo, the Inuit, and the modern day Mursi and Surma, just to name a few. With piercing in general growing exponentially across the globe, we’re likely to see a few more surprises in both the near and distant future.